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Soldiers’ Pay :
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Soldiers’ Pay

Faulkner’s Soldiers’ Pay: A Bibliographical Study

By Francis J. Bosha



ISBN: 0878752110

Published 1982

Annotations to Soldiers’ Pay

By Margaret Yonce



ISBN: 0824043901

Published 1990


Recommended Critical Studies
Character List

Recommended Criticism

  • Brooks, Cleanth. “A Payment Deferred (Soldiers’ Pay).” William Faulkner: Toward Yoknapatawpha and Beyond (1978): 67-99. 
    One of the most influential early critics of Faulkner, Brooks examines the novel primarily as an extension of Faulkner’s earlier forays into Romanticism, and in particular his reliance upon the Greek nature spirits of nymphs and fauns as a conscientious model and motif for characters and events in the novel. In Brooks’ eyes, Donald Mahon and Januarius Jones represent two extremes of faun and satyr, while Emmy and Cecily represent varying degrees of nymphs. This use of faun and nymph imagery, Brooks says, emphasizes the failure of nature and "pagan virtues" in light of the recent World War, especially the failure of religion, which is epitomized by the Reverend Joseph Mahon’s loss of faith. As in Eliot’s The Waste Land, it falls upon the middle-ground of humanity (represented in the novel by Joe Gilligan and Margaret Powers) to stand as victims of the common disaster and alone to recognize the "curse" on the land and the loss of meaning and purpose.


  • Millgate, Michael. “Soldiers’ Pay.” The Achievement of William Faulkner (1978): 61-67. 
    Though first published in 1966, Millgate’s book still stands as a major study of Faulkner’s work. The chapter on Soldiers’ Pay indicates the extent to which Faulkner’s earlier work, especially his poetry, found new expression in prose. He examines Faulkner’s descriptive ability ("thematic and emblematic rather than imitative") and the possibility that Faulkner, in addition to borrowing imagery from Greek mythology, is parodying James Branch Cabell’s Jurgen. Mythical elements are prominent in the novel, but Millgate notes that such an interpretation does not fit into an organized overall pattern. He also examines certain stylistic characteristics of the novel — the numerous similes but lack of metaphors, for instance — and the novel’s rich allusiveness and symbolism, arguing that while Faulkner ultimately fails in uniting the novel’s many elements, the novel nonetheless exhbits "a competence and consistency quite astonishing ina first novel."

Character List

Names in bold face indicate major or significant characters.
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How to cite this page (MLA style):

Padgett, John B. “Soldiers’ Pay: Resources.” William Faulkner on the Web. 17 Aug. 2006. Ed. John B. Padgett. U of Mississippi. 24 Aug. 2017 <>.

This page was last modified on Thursday, August 17, 2006, at 03:20 PM CDT.
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